Hemp Seed - A Powerhouse of Health for Your Dog

19th April 2024

Hemp seed and hemp seed oil are a powerhouse of health that's good for the planet, biodiversity and your dog. Find out why here.

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As well as absorbing carbon from the atmosphere, hemp regenerates the soil it grows in, cleaning it of heavy metals and toxins left behind from other crops. According to studies, a single acre of hemp cultivation can absorb as much as 4.1 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year!

Along with its ability to thrive without using pesticides, hemp is perfectly suited to restore farmland between crop rotations. It also helps the environment by encouraging bio-diversity.

In the UK licensed farmers are allowed by law to farm the seeds and the stems of the Hemp plants (Cannabis sativa) and not the leaves or the flowers, which both contain the chemical compound called THC.

As a versatile plant, Hemp can be used in a host of sustainable ways : as a source of protein in a plant-based diet, in clothing, in skincare products, even in building materials like ‘hempcrete’ where it continues to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The good news is that both ground Hemp Seed and Hemp Seed oil are very nutritious for your dog in the right quantity.

Rich in vitamins and trace minerals including: phosphorous, potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc and Vitamin E.

Hemp seed and its oil also boasts an ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids at 3:1. It contains essential fatty acids that your dog can’t produce and needs to get through diet, not least being rich in the omega-6 fatty acid called gamma linolenic acid (GLA).

We often think of omega-6 fatty acids as the bad guys that lead to inflammation in your dog. It’s Arachidonic Acid (AA) that gives all omega-6 fatty acids this bad rap. AA is an inflammatory fat. It initiates an inflammatory immune response.

Linoleic Acid (LA) is truly essential and needs to be in your dog’s diet. If LA is deficient, dogs develop skin and coat conditions, and other health issues. It’s found in good quantities in both plant oils and animal fats, but when there’s too much LA in the diet, it gets converted to AA, and inflammation is the result.

GLA is the exception! It’s an omega-6 fatty acid that’s important and anti-inflammatory. GLA is considered as “conditionally essential”. Meaning your dog needs to get GLA in their diet.

Interestingly, whilst LA converts to GLA, it needs a specific enzyme, delta-6 desaturase (D6D). It also needs five nutrients: Magnesium, Zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin B3 and Vitamin B5 to do this conversion efficiently.

A dog fed on a raw balanced and complete diet should receive omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the right proportion along with these important converter minerals and vitamins present in fresh, unprocessed, species appropriate wholefoods.

Interestingly recent research has proved that GLA is the founder of prostaglandins. These are hormones in your dog’s body that circulate to smooth muscle contractions, control inflammation, regulate the body temperature and perform other vital metabolic functions.

With so many health benefits and hemp’s positive contribution to the plant, maybe there could be a boom in the UK’s Hemp farming sector in the offing?

Takeaway Facts on GLA in Hemp Seed and Hemp Seed Oil

Reduces Joint Pain

Researchers in the Journal of Arthritis and Rheumatology noted that GLA found in hemp seeds reduced arthritic symptoms by 25% compared to the placebo at 4%. This is a result of the perfect balance of fatty acids that helps to reduce inflammation naturally.

Promotes Skin and Coat Health

Hemp seed is used in cosmetic products and soaps because the oil can penetrate the inner layers of the skin and promote healthy cellular growth. Hemp seed oil also moderates oil production. Dryness can cause skin to overproduce oil. Hemp seed oil can prevent dry skin and doesn’t clog pores.

Soothes Inflammation

GLA is a powerful anti-inflammatory that reduces inflammation and skin irritation and associated pain. The balance of fatty acids also plays an important role in reducing the inflammation associated with common skin issues including atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, pruritic skin disease and granulomas.

May Prevent Cancer

Researchers at the American Cancer Society say those with cancer, diabetes and skin allergies don’t make enough GLA and these issues are very common in dogs too. While GLA is considered a conditionally essential fatty acid (meaning most dogs can make enough of it, most of the time), there are many situations (hard exercise or stress) when dogs can’t make enough GLA. As GLA is perfectly balanced with omega-3 fats, hemp seed and hemp seed oil can help reduce inflammation in your dog and strengthen the immune system. There’s also research showing that GLA can help control malignant cancer cells.

Avoid feeding Hemp Seed Oil with chicken

If you serve your dog mainly chicken-based food then you don’t want to add hemp seed oil. Chicken and hemp are both heavy in polyunsaturated fats and linoleic acid. So, hemp seed oil could cause an imbalance in your dog’s daily fat intake. Ideally mix it with beef, pork, lamb, or venison. Interestingly, Flaxseed and Flaxseed oil is better with chicken in particular.

Ensure you opt for ethical minimally processed Hemp Seed or Hemp Seed oil products

Berry Good from Paleo Ridge which contains a raft of superfood antioxidants including broccoli, kale, wild blackberries, wild blueberries, organic hemp seed powder, green lipped mussel and ground hemp seeds.

Approximate Dosing

Hemp Seed Oil: 5kg - 10kg: 1.5ml, 10kg - 20kg: 2ml, 20kg and over: 3ml daily.

Ground Hemp Seeds: Up to 10 kg: 2 g daily, 11 - 25 kg: 4 g daily, 26-40 kg: 6 g daily.

Anna Webb – as a Canine Nutrition and Behaviour expert, Anna combines her psychology degree, with study at the College of Integrated Veterinary Therapies (CIVT) and over 20 years of experience. Host of the award-nominated A DOG’S LIFE podcast, she lives in London and is owned by Prudence, a Miniature Bull Terrier, and Mr Binks, a re-homed English Toy Terrier.

Further Reading

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